Do You Need A DBS Check To Work With Animals?
DBS checks are a requirement when it comes to working with children and vulnerable adults. Animals can be considered vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, so it would seem to make sense that jobs involving the care of animals should be covered by DBS checks too.
This article will answer the question, as well as provide some advice if you are embarking on a career involving animal care and how to get DBS checks carried out.
Is a DBS check required when working with animals?
In general, the answer is “yes”, you do need some kind of background check, but the level of DBS check required varies depending on the nature of the role and level of care provided. To complicate matters, in some cases no DBS check is needed at all.
Let’s take a look at some different jobs that involve working with animals and discuss the DBS requirements for each.
Vets (or veterinarians)
Do you need to get a DBS check to become a vet? Yes. Before starting out in a new career as a vet, individuals must get a Standard DBS check done. The standard DBS check highlights spent and unspent convictions, plus cautions, warnings, and reprimands. Therefore, if there have been any serious offences involving cruelty to animals or neglect, they will show up on the certificate.
The trust element is important, as the role of a vet involves direct, sometimes unsupervised, care of animals and they are entrusted with looking after people’s dearest pets. The standard DBS checks helps to verify the character of the person applying to become a vet and helps to ensure that they don’t have a propensity towards violence, abuse, or neglect of animals.
Training or handling therapy animals
Therapy animals are a valuable service provided to people with disabilities or medical needs. For instance, seeing-eye or guide-dogs are commonly provided to people with impaired sight. Also, animals are often taken into hospitals or care homes to allow patients or residents to pet and interact with them, which has been proven to be very therapeutic.
Due to the fact that working with therapy animals often involves coming into direct contact with elderly or vulnerable adults and children, anyone applying to work in such a role will require the highest level of DBS check, which is an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list.
Zookeepers are generally required to get at least a Basic DBS Check. Whether they need a higher level check, such as standard or enhanced, depends on their level of involvement with the animals.
If the role simply involves cleaning the animal closures and feeding the animals, a basic check will usually suffice, as this will be done in plain view of the public and other zoo workers, so there is little to no opportunity for wrongdoing, However, if the role involves being more hands-on with the animals, a standard check will be needed. If the role involves working with members of the public, especially children, by giving unsupervised talks and demonstrations, then an enhanced check may be more appropriate.
Enhanced checks are only required for roles that the DBS deem to be regulated activities. More on this later.
Pet sitters, dog walkers, etc.
These kinds of roles don’t usually require a DBS certificate, as they are temporary custodians of animals and are not full-time or intensive care roles. However, if you are considering setting up a pet sitting or dog walking business, it’s a good idea to get a Basic DBS Check completed to prove your trustworthiness to potential customers.
You can apply for a basic DBS check yourself – you don’t need to go through a third party as you would with a standard or enhanced check. The easiest way to get a basic DBS check is to apply online. You can do this today through our easy-to-use online application process.
What is a DBS regulated activity?
A DBS regulated activity is any job or position that involves working directly with children or vulnerable adults. The level and amount of direct contact makes a difference when deciding whether something is a DBS regulated activity. The guidance states that any role that involves caring for, teaching, or providing therapy or guidance to vulnerable groups is a regulated activity.
For example, if you work at a riding school looking after the horses, this won’t be classed as a regulated activity, so you will only need a basic or standard DBS check.
However, if you work at a riding school teaching children how to ride a horse, then this will be considered to be a regulated activity and you’ll need an enhanced DBS check, or enhanced DBS check with barred list.
Get an online DBS check if you work with animals
If you’re considering a career working with animals that doesn’t involve contact with children or vulnerable adults, then you can get a basic DBS check done here which will support your application. You can apply online today and get a result within 24 hours.
If the role involves a high level of responsibility and care for animals, or involves coming into regular direct contact with vulnerable people, then you’ll need a standard or enhanced DBS check, which needs to be approved by a third party. You can still apply online, but you’ll need verification from a registered body.
To find out more about DBS requirements for working with animals, get in touch with one of our expert team today.